I remember the first time I heard about this. I was up late reading a book – I can’t remember which book, nor when. But I can remember how I felt.
So ridiculously angry.
I remember my hot angry tears splashing onto the pages of this book and I lay there on my bed and cried.
This is a modern day atrocity which crushes my heart, boils my blood and stirs what I feel is the righteous whip-cracking-in-the-temple-Jesus kind of anger it deserves. No evil concocted by the hearts of mankind could be as horrid as this. No place where Satan thrives could be so dark as this.
Since that night, this has been an issue close to my heart. Slavery is an issue deserving of having light shone upon it, to show and dispel the evil in the hearts of humans and bring to light the activities of Satan. This is not an issue that died with the American Slave trade – this is an issue that persists today in a greater and more persistent force then ever.
People, men and women and children, trapped as indentured servants, forced labourers, sex slaves.
A story shared by Exodus Road recently detailed a story from an investigation – the team was sitting with a young girl and learned from her that her virginity had been sold only days before for $1500 USD. She was now selling for $150 USD. “Used goods”. This is a child. Someone’s daughter. A child who deserves dignity, freedom and life. A child who has been deprived of their childhood and their innocence for the sake of a quick dollar.
It is estimated that there is between 28 – 45 million slaves currently around the world. Our 1st world countries are not immune.
As a kids leader at my church, my tears of anger are always for the child victims of slavery. Often sold by their impoverished parents. Often with no way out. I have never been so broken or made so angry by anything else. These are children who are having their innocence ripped away from them. They are being drugged, raped and forced to do unspeakable things for men and women with selfish and evil desires in their hearts. How on earth can we Christians in our western nations ignore this, an issue that not only calls for but demands action?
Every human being is made in the image of God, the imago Dei. From the smallest baby to the oldest of adults, we reflect the image of a holy, just and beautiful God. Slavery is an absolute affront to the imago Dei. Something which denies the dignity of another human, mistreats and abuses them and defiles them – not just once, but over and over and over again.
February 27th is “Shine a light on slavery day” in America, a day made specifically to highlight and produce awareness on this issue. I have purposefully shared this on this date for the sake of awareness. We need to know and understand that this exists. We cannot as Christians allow the issue of slavery to unknowingly persist in the darkness; instead we must be aware, be prepared to act and bring the darkness into the light.
If you are convicted to do something more, there are a number of awesome organisations working on the front lines bringing freedom to individuals trapped in slavery. You may be interested in supporting one of these financially, like I chose to support Exodus Road’s Bravo team working in India back when I first got my heart broken by God. Some of these organisations are:
- Exodus Road
- Exodus Cry
- A21 Campaign
- Made in a Free World
- Free the Slaves
- World Vision
- End it movement (this is actually a coalition of all of these organisations, and giving money through here is distributed to them – if you’ve seen me in a red cross hat or clothing, this is that)
- Many many more…
To quote Exodus Cry, “the crisis of modern day sex slavery does not need interested observers. It needs incurable fanatics.” We cannot be observers on the sidelines while the individuals bearing the imago Dei are defiled and their dignity lost. We cannot sit silently while children, men and women are being sold as sex slaves for men and women to satisfy evil lust and greed. We cannot be content to do nothing while what could be 45 million people are trapped and oppressed for the sinfulness and greediness of humanity.
I remember watching a documentary by Exodus Cry called “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls”. The name is fitting; selling unique and individual humans for nefarious, evil purposes. One of the stories they shared was of a 9-year-old girl who had been sold and then raped by an American man. I don’t remember crying like that since; that night was a very sleepless one, where I was wrecked by God, angry, frustrated at my inability to do anything and just broken.
Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” ~ Luke 4:18-19 ESV
“Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” ~ Isaiah 58:5-10 ESV
Not only *should* we act, but we have the biblical sanctioned divine mandate to do so. I can see no better reason then Isaiah 58:5-10 to commit to doing something for the good of others. Jesus was sent to proclaim good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, set at liberty the oppressed and recover the sight of the blind. Yahweh says that if you pour yourself out for the hungry and the afflicted, your light shall rise in the darkness.
Slavery needs the light of Christ to shine into the depths of that darkness. It needs the light of Christians willing to step out and give generously and sacrificially of our time and resources. 45 million people, with names, faces, hopes and dreams, and we have the ability to do something about it.
In it to end it.